In this review I’m looking at the block template library called Blogging Blocks. Blogging Blocks are not a stand alone block collection, but are instead pre-designed block patterns, or templates, created using the free Kadence Blocks and WordPress core. Start Blogging 101, the company behind Blogging Blocks, uses Kadence Cloud to manage the library and provide access. Kadence Cloud significantly lowers the bar and makes it easier for designers to share and even sell access to their designs. Today there are a growing number of small business designers serving the Kadence community, selling their pre-designed block templates using Kadence Cloud.
Selling Pre-Designed Templates Is a Big Business
Predesigned templates have been a thing in WordPress from the beginning. For many years purchasing a professionally designed theme was the main way people got designs for their sites. Let’s face it, not everyone is a designer or has the time to create a design themselves. When page builders became popular people started using general purpose themes and designs came in the form of templates that could be imported using your page builder. All of the page builders come with design libraries.
Gutenberg started off as a content editor, but as it became more of a page builder then we started seeing more pre-designed options appear. Today many third party block collections also provide a Gutenberg design library that includes pages, sections, and blocks patterns.
What Are Block Patterns?
- Blocks are the basic element in Gutenberg
- There are many types of block – from simple to complex, including “composite blocks” that are built up using basic blocks
- Third party blocks add functionality and more styling options than core
- You can save a block or a section of blocks as a “block pattern”
- Block patterns are reusable and can be shared
- “Block patterns” is the Gutenberg name for templates created using blocks
Pre-designed elements are popular because they help people achieve a professional look without having to hire a designer. They provide a starting point for people who are not sure how to create their own designs from scratch and for people who want to save time and money by assembling their pages using them. These pre-designed elements are immensely popular because they provide a structure for creative expression while still allowing for a high degree of flexibility. By using a design library a person can start with a solid foundation and then build on it, adding their own unique flair and content.
The Kadence Advantage and Kadence Cloud
The Kadence theme is a flexible general purpose theme that works well with all popular page builders. However, Kadence has a special integration with the Gutenberg editor. The colors and typography options that you set in the theme Customizer are synced with global style options in Gutenberg. Further, Kadence Blocks also integrate with this system. You would think that it would be common sense for themes and block collections to work this way, and so do, but surprisingly many do not. This Kadence advantage means that it is especially easy to import pre-designed templates while maintaining consistency across the site. In other words, when Kadence templates and block patterns are imported they automatically pickup the site design settings, which minimizes the need to tinker with imported templates.
A year and a half ago the Kadence team released Kadence Cloud. With Kadence Cloud it is relatively easy to host your own templates. For freelancers and agencies this solved the problem of how to conveniently manage and re-provision their designs. Beyond that, designers could sell their designs and use Kadence Cloud to store, manage access, and distribute them. This significantly lowered the bar for designers with an entrepreneurial spirit.
Designers Offering Block Libraries Using Kadence Cloud
Brand & Build
Brand & Build is Michelle Nunam’s website offering child themes, templates, and block patterns for coaches and trainers.
Maestro Stevens of Iconic Templates offers block pattern collections for websites and sales funnels.
Restore 316 Designs
Restore 316 Designs is Lauren Dierschke’s website where she sells child themes and block patterns with a feminine design.
CannyDev is a design team from Scottland offering access to a free Kadence design library.
Blogging Blocks by Start Blogging 101
Jake Pfohl is the founder of Start Blogging 101. He offers a large block collection called Blogging Blocks.
Blogging Blocks has two collections, one for affiliates and marketing and another one for general use. In each category there are some free blocks and some pro versions. The pro versions are usually a bit fancier.
It is easy to add another cloud library. Just open the Designer Library and click on the plus icon. When you signup or buy access to a cloud library you get the URL and a special access key. Enter those in and you are all set. I entered the information I was given and connected.
See now we have the SB Blocks tab in the library. There are lots of blocks in a number of categories.
I clicked on one of the alert blocks and it was adding into the editor. On the left is the block list view. You can see that the alert block is made up of Kadence blocks. On the right you see that some custom code was added to achieve the ribbon effect.
See how the blocks when viewed in the design library have salmon colored buttons?
But when they are imported the theme colors are automatically applied. That is the “Kadence advantage,” that helps to maintain design consistency.
There are lots of attractive and useful blocks in the Blogging Blocks collection.
Discussion and Conclusions
We discussed the history of getting access to designs for WordPress sites, which started out with niche themes and then moved to page builder template libraries. There are design libraries appearing for use in the Gutenberg editor now also. Users like design libraries because they are a fast and convenient way to add styled elements to the site. Templates created using blocks are called block patterns.
The Kadence theme and Kadence Blocks combination has the nice feature of keeping your color and typography choices synced between the theme Customizer and Gutenberg. When you use block patterns and templates from the Kadence Design Library, this “Kadence Advantage” means that imported elements can adapt to your site and that helps to maintain design consistency.
The introduction of Kadence Cloud gives designers access to the design library within the WordPress editor without needing to program their own platform, transport mechanism, and plugin. Users just need to have the free Kadence blocks plugin installed. Kadence Cloud makes it easier to share pre-designed elements across sites, and even to start a business and sell access to design libraries. There are a number of designers successfully doing this.
We took a look at Blogging Blocks, from Start Blogging 101. This collection has a large number of block patterns available, mainly targeting marketing and general website usage. Blogging Blocks have bold and attractive designs and new items are regularly added. Blogging Blocks, the other designers offering block templates, and even Kadence Cloud itself, are good examples of creativity and innovation in the WordPress ecosystem.
The CannyDev team patterns are great! I hope they continue to add more.
Yes, they are good and have good resources too.